Manage Pain with Good Nutrition

If you are fighting the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, arthritis, or the aches that come after surgeries or injuries, you can try to lower pain with smoothies made in your high performance blender. Medical doctors such as Dr. Stephen F. Grindstead (*), who writes a blog concerning pain management, are finding that some nutrients in raw fruits have anti-inflammatory attributes.  Other raw foods ease pain by providing complex carbohydrates popular with vegetarians.

Cherry Smoothies: Better than Aspirin 

The tart red cherries naturally contain anthocyanins, which fight inflammation in the body much the same way that aspirin does.  In biochemistry, this ingredient is also responsible for the coloration in flowers from red to blue.  Soy products are also said to relieve pain, and animal studies have shown a correlation between consuming soy before surgery and a decrease in pain level.  

To reap the benefits of both soy and cherries, mix up a breakfast smoothie with 1 ripe banana, 1 cup of tart, frozen cherries and 1 cup soymilk.  After blending, it is best to serve it immediately.

Fibromyalgia and Nutrition

Dr. Grindstead references that studies conducted by the National Fibromyalgia Association concluded that there is a definite relationship between eating well and managing pain.  In order to keep pain under control, though, changes in lifestyle habits must be made so that you give your body the right mixture of diet and exercise to be healthy. 

Many nutritionists and researchers believe in a preventative approach.  Getting on track with good nutrition before an illness starts can keep you safe from the physical effects of malnutrition or vitamin deficiencies.  Such conditions as frequent colds and viruses and the feeling of complete fatigue could be due to a diet that is not properly balanced.

Nutrients Help Joints Stay Supple

You can add nutrients that help joint pain to smoothies or soups that you make with your high performance blender.  Ground flax seed, curcumin and Vitamin B12 may help you keep your range of motion in shoulders, hands, feet, hips and knees.

Flax seed comes in an oil, a liquid or a dry form.  The latter can be ground in an ordinary grinder and added to smoothie recipes.  Because it is a good source of omega-3 and fiber, it helps your joints stay healthy and your weight under control.  A daily dosage is three generous tablespoons or ΒΌ cup. 

Curcumin is another nutrient said to have anti-inflammatory properties.  It is a spice closely related to ginger (*)  and can be used in many sauces, soups and even raw food smoothies.   Curcumin has been used as a natural remedy for a multitude of conditions and is thought to promote cardiovascular health and even relieve menstrual cramps. The supplement may also lower bad LDL cholesterol and restore kidneys to health, although more studies are needed.

Vitamin B12 also has pain management properties.  However, it is best to get the benefit from fortified soymilk instead of meat, especially if you are trying to reduce nagging or chronic pain.  The saturated fats in meat tend to aggravate inflammation.  Yeast can also be a good source of B12.  Adding fortified soymilk to your smoothies and yeast to your baked goods can help to ease your pain.

Complex Carbohydrates and Pain Control

The complex carbohydrates in vegetables such as peppers, spinach, broccoli and mushrooms are also reported to reduce pain.  Adding very lean meat, such as turkey, that also has tryptophan may also reduce pain, according to Dr. Margaret A. Caudill (*) who serves as a co-director at the Arnold Pain Center, which is located at Deaconess Hospital in Boston. If you are looking for additional ingredients to further your goal of pain control, consider lentils, split peas and whole grains.  All are good sources of complex carbohydrates.  

The vegetables and beans can be easily combined for a highly nutrition soup.  Placing these vegetables in your high performance blender along with some bean sprouts makes a fantastic green smoothie.

Research continues to shed light on a fact we always knew:  that a balanced diet is necessary to maintain optimal health.  However, the science behind this simple statement is helping us understand just how powerful good nutrition can be.  Pain control can be as close as your next smoothie when you carefully consider the ingredients and stay away from foods with high fats that wreak havoc on your joints and muscles.

(*) References:

Dr. Stephen F. Grindstead 

Spice closely related to ginger: 

Dr. Margaret A. Caudill:

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